Embryonic stem cell research
Unrestrained research will negate life
Once again I am sad that our country's leadership is driven to establish policy that has moral and ethical implications based on a quest by researchers to find cures for our illnesses at any expense.
Once a society justifies the idea that there need not be any limits on the methods of research, specifically the use of embryonic stem cells which will negate life itself, where will the boundaries be?
One does not have to be a genius to realize the magnitude of sacrificing a potential new life to heal existing life.
And I shudder to think about the direction we may take in ensuring the availability of embryos for this research.
Is embryonic stem cell research really the best answer to curing our ills? Because it can be done does not necessarily mean it should be done.
Sharon Cardona, Wesley Chapel
A matter of urgency
There is much criticism concerning President Obama's interrupting work on the economy to lift the rules that have been tying the hands of stem cell scientists. Anyone watching a loved one gradually deteriorate from Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease knows, as I do, that the reversal of George Bush's restrictions on stem cell research was a matter of great urgency, as the future of living human beings depends on it.
Human embryos are not babies or little people; they are embryos, which, as such, have no thought processes or feelings. Stem cell research does not kill anyone as the embryos are not yet functioning human beings despite having the potential for becoming such.
It was Bush who was killing people — by not letting embryos be used in research that will eventually let living humans continue to do so.
Adele Ida Walter, Tampa
Obama to lift stem cell limits | March 7
Religion seeks to hold back science
It's the Middle Ages mentality all over again: the shrill cry against the president's abolishing the ban against the use of embryonic stem cells. No matter where the research may lead — even to cures for some of the most virulent, debilitating diseases known to humanity — these cells must not be touched. Why? Because they contain human life. (And, the argument implies, human life is bestowed by God and is therefore sacred.)
Thus we see — again and again — the strong pull of religion against ongoing scientific research. Down through the many weary years, brave men and women, searching to know more and more about life (and death) had to contend with the voices of the ignorant past straining to hold them back.
Scientists studying the human body are told what is what: An embryo is a fully human being, created by God, and therefore to be blindly honored as such. But many a scientist would agree with the one who declares, "An embryo is not a person, but the possibility or the probability of there being a person many months … in the future. Obviously, possibilities are important but to blur the distinction between them and actualities is to darken council."
And in the meantime, those expounding the sanctity of "life" are putting further into the future the eventual solving of problems important for the welfare of countless men and women in the future.
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon
Untying hands of stem cell scientists March 10, story
Too late for some
I appreciate what President Obama has done. Unfortunately, it is too late for my husband, Nick Manolas, who suffered from and died of Parkinson's disease in October 2007.
Unless you have lived through it or cared for someone who has lived with Parkinson's disease, you cannot understand the devastation of this horrible disease. Nick and I waited hopefully for George W. Bush to appreciate what the potential of stem cell research could accomplish to find a cure. Nick will never know if a cure could have been found due to Bush's personal feelings standing in the way of the wonders of science.
I miss my husband more each day and pray all those who are suffering from this terrible disease will find hope and consolation that we now have a president who is compassionate enough to do something about it.
Diana Manolas, Clearwater
Lawmakers ask: Can we tap college fund? March 9, story
Protect college money
I am aghast at the suggestion of Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, who serves as chair of the Senate higher education appropriations committee, that tapping into the Florida Prepaid college fund might be a good source of income for the state.
This program was never intended to be a source of income for the state. Her suggestion is a blatant violation of the public trust. The fact that the college money is guaranteed by the state should not give parents false comfort, particularly given the current economic climate.
Is Sen. Lynn so confident in Florida's future financial health that she's willing to gamble with our children's future?
History has repeatedly taught us that when government officials "Rob Peter to pay Paul," funds never magically reappear. Thus Peter never gets paid!
The ultimate irony is that given Sen. Lynn's position, she should be safeguarding the funds set aside for the future education of our children, not suggesting they be raided for other purposes.
Mary Beth DeMarco, South Pasadena
Raid on prepaid tuition fizzles | March 11
I'm surprised that Gov. Charlie Crist is opposing the state Legislature's idea to tap into the funds of the Florida Prepaid College Plans.
After all, the Legislature just wants to do the right thing for Floridians — raiding our children's college money — instead of the easy things: making multinational corporations pay for bottling our scarce spring water and closing the tax loopholes on stadium skyboxes and luxury charter fishing trips.
Because the counties have already cut funding for local schools and libraries, our kids won't need the money. The education they receive won't be enough to get into college or be successful there. But our kids can now look forward to good, high- paying jobs that these tax breaks will bring: picking up the litter of water bottles, cleaning skybox toilets and mopping yacht decks.
Terry Davis, Tampa
Raid on prepaid tuition fizzles | March 11
Try something wild
State Sen. Evelyn Lynn thinks that raiding the state's prepaid college program is a great idea? Leave the money alone! It is not yours to raid.
If she is looking for ideas "in your wildest imagination" to balance the budget, start with this: Freeze all government salaries and budgets for the new year. And have all state workers start paying part of their health insurance premiums.
Every one of us has had to tighten our budgets. It is time the government does the same.
Sandra Auge, Indian Shores
The other cost | March 10, story
It's worth it
How much is a life worth? Is $1.6 million too much to spend trying to save four men's lives? I think not! This is why we have a Coast Guard and rescue personnel. They get paid whether they are out searching or training.
When I see our government spending billions on the Iraq war, bailing out banks and aiding foreign countries, I think $1.6 million in an attempt to save four of our citizens is money well spent.
Howard Coon, Clearwater
The other cost | March 10, story
An unseemly focus
Shame on you. I — and I hope most people — was not interested in or concerned about the costs associated with the rescue effort performed by our Coast Guard, Air Force and other associated agencies.
Thank God one life was saved, and let us continue to mourn for the families who lost loved ones.
William Herald, Belleair Bluffs